South Xtra: Big Macs threesome bask in state title glow

WRESTLING/PIAA CLASS AAA CHAMPIONSHIPS


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The Canon-McMillan wrestling team hit the "double trifecta" in the PIAA Class AAA Tournament this past weekend.

Three Canon-McMillan wrestlers won individual titles, thus leading the Big Macs to a third consecutive team title.

"It was an incredible weekend," Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. "I'm so proud of the boys. They will remember this day for the rest of their lives."

Canon-McMillan took seven wrestlers to Hershey and five returned home with medals.

Four made it to the finals and three claimed gold medals -- Connor Schram (45-3), Solomon Chishko (11-0) and Cody Wiercioch (44-1).

"I ended it the same way I started it," Schram said after winning his second PIAA title in four years. "To end my career with a win in the state finals is a good feeling."

Schram was a state runner-up the past two seasons after winning as a freshman.

"It's the worst feeling in the world when you lose in the finals in front of your family and friends, and everyone," Schram said. "You never want to feel like that again."

Schram posted a 5-3 victory against Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer in the 126-pound final.

"Every other year in the finals I hated it," Schram said. "I kept thinking, 'What if I lose?' This year, my coaches told me to go out there and have fun. That's just what I did. I wasn't nervous at all."

Chishko stepped to the top of the podium at 145 pounds after earning a pair of bronze medals at lower weights in previous seasons.

"It was hard. I had to overcome a lot of challenges," said Chishko, who missed the regular season recovering from elbow surgery. "I had to overcome my arm [surgery], my [lack of] conditioning and had to be mentally prepared."

Chishko recorded an 8-0 major decision victory against Cedar Cliff's Chris Vassar.

"Finishing third the last two years really motivated me," Chishko said. "I wasn't going to let it happen again."

Wiercioch won his third title in four years with a 7-2 win against Joe Garland of Penncrest in the 170-pound final.

"These four years have gone by fast," said Wiercioch, who won his first PIAA title as a freshman at Charleroi, then placed second the next year.

He followed with two titles after transferring to Canon-McMillan, while posting a 90-1 record. His career record is 167-5.

"I was so much more relaxed this year," said Wiercioch, who will continue his career at Pitt. "It helped so much to get my college choice out of the way. Knowing that I was going to Pitt allowed me to really enjoy my senior season."

Canon-McMillan's other place-winners were Dalton Macri and Alex Campbell.

Macri (45-7) placed second at 120 after losing to Hempfield's Sam Krivus (40-3).

Campbell (37-10) finished eighth at 220 after defaulting in the third round of consolations with a shoulder injury.

Disappointment for CV's Wilps

Chartiers Valley wrestling coach Bill Evans has a unique outlook on two losses suffered by Colts junior Noah Wilps over the weekend at the PIAA tournament.

"It's the best thing that could have happened to Noah," Evans said. "He may not agree now, but he will when he gets to college."

Wilps placed sixth in the Class AAA 170-pound weight class, but finished up with three consecutive losses.

"I'm so happy for Noah," Evans said. "When you look at where he came from start to finish, it's all about hard work. It was just hard work all year long. There's no secret formula."

Wilps opened the tournament with a pair of one-point victories, including one that went to the ultimate tiebreaker, which earned him a spot in the semifinals.

"If you could take 10 seconds back in your life, that would be it," said Evans, referring to Wilps' loss to Penncrest's Joe Gartland in the semifinals.

Wilps held a 5-4 lead with the bout coming to a close when disaster struck. Gartland caught Wilps in a body-lock and took him to his back with 10 seconds left. The five-point move gave Garland an 8-4 victory.

"His weakness got exposed in the semifinals and again in the consolation semifinals," said Evans, referring to Wilps' 7-1 loss to Tom Sleigh of DuBois. "In both losses, he got caught with a body-lock."

Evans feels the two losses will benefit Wilps in the future.

"If Noah won those two bouts, he never would have known that a body-lock was his weakness," Evans said. "Now we can work on it and make him a better wrestler for college."

Wilps finished the season with a 32-11 record.

"I could have done better," Wilps said. "The losses showed me that I've got a lot more work to do to get to where I want to be. It was nice to stand on the winners platform for the first time, but I could have done better.

hsother

First Published March 14, 2013 4:00 AM


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